Go-To Home Gym Gear

Without fail, you should move every day. Yes, every single day. But no, that doesn’t mean you need to hit the gym every day. Heck, some days, you can’t make it to the gym. Work, family, and weather can all conspire to keep you from your favorite CrossFit box or globo-gym, and you can’t always change that. 

That’s why it’s always good to have a little bit of gym gear at home. No, this doesn’t mean having stacks of barbells and dumbbells and the latest fold-out porta-squat rack hidden in a wall in your basement.

Just keep these five home gym accessories in your basement. Break them out whenever you need a quick workout. No, they won’t pack mountains and mountains of muscle onto your shoulders; you’ll need a gym for that. But with this gear, you’ll have everything you need to ramp your heart rate up and get a good sweat, maintain the muscle that you have, and challenge your body just a bit, too.

Jump Rope

From the rower to the Ski-Erg to manual curved treadmills, conditioning gear has taken a massive leap forward these days. But you don’t need any of that to get yourself dripping in sweat and to hone fast-twitch athleticism and footwork.

Pick up a good speed rope, and you can easily and comfortably skip rope, or challenge yourself with double-unders, or work in even niftier footwork jumps, too. There are multiple ways to program quick conditioning pieces with jump ropes. Set a timer for 5-7 minutes for example, jumping for 40 seconds and resting for 20 every minute. Or count individual jumps, chasing, say, 100 total double-unders or 100 standard jumps.

This jump rope from XD is a good start. 

VitsHustle Jump rope

VitaHustle Jump Rope
starting at $24.99

Looped Resistance Band

Bodyweight resistance moves like pushups, squats, and lunges are great, but they’ll only challenge you so far. Take things to the next level by keeping a medium-weight looped resistance band around.

A looped resistance band can easily augment pushups or squats, and you can hang it from a pull-up bar and slide your feet into it to make pull-ups easier. Even better, it lets you access standard resistance moves like biceps curls (stand on the band for resistance) or triceps press downs (hang the band from a bar and grasp its handles). It’s not the same as pumping iron, but it’s a solid fallback too.

Foam Roller

Training hard means taking recovery seriously too, and that’s where a foam roller comes in. Whether you’re stuck at home for your whole session, or you’ve just come home from your local gym, you can hit the foam roller in front of the TV, loosening tight muscle tissue so you move better during your next training session. 

And a foam roller does more than that, too, serving as a convenient (and super-underrated) instability tool for increasing difficulty on bodyweight exercises. Try doing a pushup-position plank with your hands on the foam roller, or just doing classic pushups with your arms on the foam roller. Save these moves for your toughest workouts, and stay focused; they’re harder than they look.

Sliders

Especially if you have a wood floor at home, it’s worth investing in a pair of sliders. They’re super-convenient, they don’t take up a lot of space, and they let you access a host of core movements to build midsection stability and carve serious abdominal strength and definition. 

Mountain climbers with your feet on sliders are an easy go-to circuit move, and you can step up your pushup game with slider archer pushups. Start in pushup position with your left hand on a slider. Lower into a pushup and, as you do, straight your left arm and push it out to the side. Pause, then press back to the start. Think of doing 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps to each side. And expect it to be tough!

Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

Fitness Director for Men’s Health Magazine and CSCS trainer -

Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is the fitness director of Men's Health and a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience. He's logged training time with NFL and track athletes, and his current training regimen includes weight training, HIIT conditioning, and yoga. Before joining Men's Health in 2017, he served as a sports and tech columnist for the New York Daily News.